Hey there tatfans and welcome to another edition of The Announce Table. A thought occurred to me just a moment ago; The Announce Table, after a period of sloppy timekeeping during the summer, is now becoming a bona-fide weekly event! I feel pretty proud about that as I really enjoy writing this column, but it also speaks volumes for the WWE who give us enough angles, issues and matches for columns like TAT to blossom.
So Taboo Tuesday has been and gone, and I must say I think it was a genuine success. A pretty predictable success, if I do say so myself – I am happy to say that I called what was going to happen title-wise pretty accurately – but for me it was one of the finest pay per views for a long time outside of the big four. Why? It’s because this pay per view was not based upon story arcs or long-running angles, it was based upon the WWE stars having to ad-lib on that night, and the notion that no-one could tell for sure exactly what was going to happen made it a thrill to watch.
Apart from Kane vs Snitsky, Eugene vs Bischoff and Christy vs Carmella, none of the matches had been built up in any way the weeks before on Raw. No one was jumping the other guy and there were no axes to grind based on recent results or happenings. The stipulations were given, and the choice of opposition was given, and the rest was up to the fans. I said last week that if gold doesn’t change hands then the fans would feel let down because their vote wouldn’t have counted towards anything major occurring at a pay per view. But gold did change hands, and the crowd felt their votes were validated, and that’s why Taboo Tuesday was a success.
Chris Jericho was the first man to feel the power of the fans’ vote when he lost his Intercontinental title to Shelton Benjamin, in a move that will act as a springboaurd for Benjamin’s career push. Having a choice of 15 potential opponents for Jericho was always a risky idea because the potential was there for the fans to go against the grain and vote for someone that the WWE didn’t want to win; someone like Steven Richards or Coach. However I suggested that if the fans voted someone who the WWE could accept beating Jericho, like Benjamin or Christian, then we could see a title change. The WWE always allowed the fans the right to vote for whoever they wanted, but to see important things happen you had to vote for what the WWE wanted, and that’s what happened.
Much to the fans’ chagrin, Randy Orton was not involved in the Main Event options to possibly fight Triple H, and there was a perfectly valid reason for this:
The WWE were desperate to have new Tag-Team champions.
There are four main event superstars other than The Game who the WWE are keen to push, they are: Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit and judging by recent weeks, Edge. This is all good; all these guys are solid, exciting main event standard men. Michaels and Orton are by far the most popular with the fans, but neither man would be a good Tag-Team champion, unlike Benoit and Edge. And seeing that the WWE bookers could think of no reasonable angle to just give Benoit and Edge a Tag-Team shot, they had to go with three options to fight Triple H with the people who were not voted getting the Tag-Team shot. Finally the WWE had to decide who they would rather see fight Triple H: Michaels or Orton, and seeing that they have Orton pencilled in for Triple H at Wrestlemania, coming off the back of just losing his title to The Game a couple of weeks ago – that just leaves HBK.
But, as I said, the handing over of the Tag-Team titles was probably the biggest agenda on Taboo Tuesday. The WWE crafted the voting so well that HBK was always going to fight Triple H. The Heartbreak Kid will always win a popularity contest over Benoit and Edge, and the latter two have already held the Tag-Team titles this year, losing to La Resistance in Quebec. Edge and Benoit make a fantastic pairing and add a real touch of prestige to the tag belts that La Resistance struggled to do, so hopefully we can look forward to the next great Tag-Team feud going into Wrestlemania 21.
One person who was never going to lose his title was Triple H, and this is a good thing. The WWE need to settle down with the World Heavyweight Championship, they have had too many title changes in the last couple of months on a belt that relies on being impossible to win. If, in two months, the belt went from Benoit to Orton to Triple H to whoever, only to go back to Triple H in time for Wrestlemania, then the damage would have been done; the aloofness would have been lost.
I can’t imagine Triple H losing his title now, not until Wrestlemania in fact, so expect a flurry of contenders that Triple H is first calling out, then scared of, then buries in gimmick matches, with blood, in that order. I personally will look forward to a few people getting title shots and their time in the spotlight before the next roster draft. Look forward to Christian, Rhyno, Snitsky, Jericho and Edge all having a pop at Triple H before too long.
So where did Orton go? He had a short but ultimately fulfilling Steel Cage match against Ric Flair in what seemed to be a handing over of the torch match. Orton beat up Flair, made him bleed, who in turn made Orton bleed, who in turn pinned Flair in a match that would have been pretty easily forgotten had it not been for their handshake and hug at the end. People are now questioning what Flair’s role in Evolution might be after this, but I don’t think it will change. The hug was probably a real one, not faked, and Flair will carry on as the old punk of Evolution.
It seems that right now, rather like using your voice in an episode of The Simpsons, the coolest thing is having your name included as part of Orton’s Legend Killer Tour. Benoit did it and shook the guy’s hand, as did Flair, one questions whether HBK will do the same thing, such is the scale of Orton’s push.
Kane got beaten up by Gene Snitsky in what was a pretty barbaric yet satisfying match. I had never seen Snitsky before on Raw, only heard really negative things about him and the angle he is involved in, but Kane did wonders for the guy before he leaves to make a film. I cannot say I approve of the “Baby Killer” angle but one thing I do approve of is the introduction of the next truly detestable heel on Raw. Let’s hope they don’t make the same mistakes with Snitsky as they did with Kane, and make him soft.
Other matches included Trish Stratus coming out on top in a truly average Divas Battle Royal, Christy pinning Carmella in a very forgettable match, and in a surprise moment, but not a totally unexpected one, Eric Bischoff had to shave his hair after losing to Eugene.
It was a strong pay per view, and ultimately very exciting in places, so I cannot imagine that this will be the last thing that the WWE does of this ilk. I can imagine they have more interactive events planned, but they will stay within the confines of big Raws and smaller pay per views. Right now, as it stands, the fans won’t be able to influence Wrestlemania just yet…
Thanks for reading,